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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Impressive Frontale denies Reds pole position

SAITAMA (Kyodo) Urawa Reds spurned the chance to return to the top of the J. League Monday after suffering a stunning 3-1 defeat at home to Kawasaki Frontale.

News photo
Aerial battle: Kawasaki Frontale's Chong Tese and Urawa Reds' Nobuhisa Yamada go head to head at Saitama Stadium on Monday. Frontale won the match 3-1. KYODO PHOTO

Urawa got off to a fine start with Naohiro Takahara opening the scoring early on, but Hiroki Ito's header drew Frontale level and two goals in the space of two second-half minutes from substitute Chong Tese and impressive debutant Vitor Junior put the game away for the visitors.

The result means Urawa remains in second place on 32 points, two behind next weekend's opponents and defending champions Kashima Antlers, who won 2-0 at Yokohama F. Marinos on Sunday.

Frode Johnsen bagged his ninth league goal of the season as Nagoya Grampus moved level on points with Reds and Gamba Osaka after a crushing 4-0 win at home to Omiya Ardija. Frontale moved one place up the table into sixth spot.

At Saitama Stadium 2002, Takahara picked up a Keita Suzuki pass and turned to smash Urawa in front on eight minutes, but Kawasaki took control of the match after Ito headed home his first J. League goal from Vitor Junior's inswinging ball into the box.

Juninho also played a pivotal role in helping Kawasaki register consecutive wins for the first time since April, and it was from the Brazilian striker's darting run and cross from the left flank that Kawasaki took the lead on 67 minutes through Chong's close-range finish.

Chong then hit the post, and Juninho punished hesitant defending and turned to cross the loose ball for Vitor Junior to wrap up the scoring with a stooping header at the far post in the 69th minute.

"We got a bit overwhelmed at the start with the atmosphere here, but I thought it was typical of us the way we came back after conceding that early goal," said Frontale manager Tsutomu Takahata.

In the day's other game, Kyoto Sanga saw its hopes of a third win in a row wrecked after Shingo Akamine's late strike earned FC Tokyo a 1-1 draw at Nishikyogoku stadium.



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